To hear more audio stories from publications like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android . Afghanistan's ministry of education sits on a chaotic thoroughfare in downtown Kabul, not far from the presidential palace. When I visited this May, I was able to walk straight into the main building without having to state my business or undergo more than a light frisk. The country's four-decade civil war is at its lowest ebb in years, and many of the capital's draconian security measures have been scaled back by the new Taliban government. The crowds of petitioners inside the ministries have changed, as well: Women are seldom seen, and the traditional garb of robe and trousers has become nearly ubiquitous among men. It was my first trip back since I covered the collapse of the republic the last summer. Regular flights had resumed from Dubai and Islamabad. At the Kabul airport, site of last year's chaotic and bloody evacuation, there was a new sign on the side of the terminal, near the white flag of the Taliban: "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seeks peaceful and positive relations with the world." It had been 20 years since the United States… Read full this story
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